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Ruan Marinho Review – The Underground Secrets (In-Depth Digital Agency 2024)

December 1, 2021

ruan marinho underground secrets course

Ruan M. Marinho is a digital marketing expert, specializing in search engine optimization and reputation management.

You guys know how hyped SEO is in 2020, so, when Ruan launched his new course, I wanted to know what it was all about.

I had previously seen Ruan on his YouTube channel, where he talks about all things SEO with a no-nonsense approach that I quite like.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

Ruan runs an online marketing agency called Develomark from Waterbury, CT, with a Trustpilot score of 4.4 and ranking 2nd on Sitejabber with a 4.9 out of 140 reviews.

On top of that, Develomark follow what they labeled Culture of Good donating a percentage of their profits to institutions in their local community in need of help.

So part of the profits of enrolling in this course will also be given to local charities.

As Ruan says, 'Develomark makes monthly monetary donations donates back into the community and it is not possible without you!'

ruan marinho underground secrets course

The fact that Ruan runs his own digital marketing with quite some success is a good indicator that in this course he talks the talk, but he also walks the walk on a day to day basis.

In 2018 he had published a relatively successful SEO course, which you now get as a free extra if you register for The Underground Secrets 2020, so that is another great bonus.

Like many online courses around, Ruan basically teaches you how to create your own digital marketing agency from the basic SEO fundamentals, to onboarding your first client, to expanding into a larger powerhouse.

The fact that he has actually gone through the whole process himself is pretty reassuring!

ruan marinho underground secrets course

After having heard about this new course, and having people asking me to review it, I decided to subscribe, and see what the fuss was all about!

I will give my honest opinion and, not being an affiliate to this program, I have no reason to say it as it is, as usual.

f you end up subbing to The UnderGround Secrets 2020, I will not be making a dime, but since there aren't many recent reviews on Ruan Marinho's work, I thought I'd fill that gap!

So in the following review, I'm going to go into details and be answering the questions that you really want to know the answer to.

No fluff and no messing around.

  • Is this course better than other Digital Marketing Courses out there? 
  • Does the course deliver what it promises?
  • Is Ruan Marinho a scam?
  • Most importantly, how much does the course cost? And is it worth the money?

But before I start this in-depth review that will cover every module, a bit about me..

A lil bit about me... My name is Ippei...

Until 2014, like many in my situation now, I was working in a corporate job from 9 to 5.

Not only was it soul-crushing, but it didn't give me much time to pursue my bigger dreams.

Everything I tried to do was on borrowed time.

That was until I discovered a method to rank sites organically, generating free leads for my clients.

That website you see above, for the tree care company, I created that site in 2015, and since then I haven't had to touch or update it:

It has gained me a passive income of $2000 a month.

That's more than $100,000 for one site, in 5 years.

That's the magic of the Lead Generation business, it's by far the best model to generate passive income. If you want to know more, just hop over here!

But enough about me: time for an in-depth review of The Underground Secrets 2020!

ruan marinho underground secrets course

The Underground Secrets 2020

As is made clear right from the front page of the course, 'The Underground Secrets is a digital marketing training covering website design, SEO, PPC, and social media marketing.'

According to the course description, 'you will be equipped with the tools and resources to attract clients with a service that's impossible to resist.

You will get the exact templates, sales processes, scripts, and more to attain new clients for scale'.

Sound familiar? I've heard other courses promise the same.

How does this one compare, though?

Here are some special features of TUS 2020:

Preliminary Course Info

  • New content every month. This is a membership program.
  • Cancel anytime with one click.
  • We donate 40-50% of the profits back into our community.
  • Scripts, contracts, slides, email templates, and more.
  • Recorded closing calls from Ruan Marinho with real agency clients.
  • Learn SEO, Website Design, and PPC for client campaigns.
ruan marinho underground secrets course

Key Takeaways From Each Module

Disclaimer: Upon subbing to the course, only the first six modules will be available. I will be adding reviews of the others as they unblock.

Module 1: The Digital Agency Business Model

Even the introductory module seems to be packed with loads of interesting lessons, but many don't go beyond short descriptions about what you'll be doing in other modules.

A couple of things did stick out, though, like the statistics worthy of mention, which are enough to make any wannapreneur ready to start their own agency, and lesson 10, about having complete control of the machine for increased success.

  • Lesson 1: Introduction to the program.
  • Lesson 2: How much income should I expect from my agency.
  • Lesson 3: Your business plan laid out for your marketing agency.
  • Lesson 4: Do I need experience to start a digital marketing agency?
  • Lesson 5: Understanding the legalities of a digital marketing agency.
  • Lesson 6: Statistics worthy of mention.
  • Lesson 7: The digital marketing agency service offering.
  • Lesson 8: Opportunity within: how I make money and how you can make money with SEO.
  • Lesson 9: International business plan for agencies.
  • Lesson 10: You Have To Have Control Of Everything To Get Results.
  • Illuminations: putting your expectations and the business plan into reality .

There's nothing like numbers and percentages to get people excited about their possibilities with using one course or another, and Ruan really delivers!

For instance, did you know that 93% of online experiences begin with people using a search engine?

Or that 81% of people perform an online search before committing to buying something?

Also quite interesting is the fact is that 57% of B2B (business-to-business) marketers consider SEO as the prime lead generator over every other marketing tool.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

Add to that that 70% of online marketers consider SEO to be the most powerful tool they have to create leads, and you get where Ruan is going with this one, and why he used to run an SEO course before.

75% of people never scroll past the first page of Google, when researching for a service or something to buy, which makes ranking on those first spots even more important!

Maybe the most surprising number I got from this lesson is that from 70% to 80% of people don't click on the top, paid results of a Google search, preferring sites ranked organically.

Finally, the fact that by this year, 2020, 10% of all searches are supposed to be made via voice search is something that you should keep in mind when creating a site or thinking about optimizing its searches.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

The second concept that really stuck with me was that of having to have control of everything to get results.

In a lot of courses, you are taught to master one technique of digital marketing:

SEO, OR Facebook Ads, OR Website Design, OR Content Management... you get what I mean.

What surprized me in a positive way of Ruan's approach is that he wants to integrate everything in his package that he will be proposing to his clients.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

According to Ruan, the first move is to create a website for the client, moving content from the old site, backlink by backlink, so you don't lose any SEO done previously.

The idea is to be in control of every aspect so that you can change the site according to your SEO results, add blog posts with not much hassle, and run Google or Facebook Ads.

It also makes it clear to the client that you are getting the results, since you are in charge of an optimized website, SEO Google Ads, Social Media presence engagement ads, and so on.

Following Ruan's example might be a bit too much at the beginning, but being in control of the whole process does make sense, and it's something that I've rarely found on other courses.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

Getting control of things gets the client a much better experience, and usually is marketed as a one year package by Ruan.

Module 2: Setting Up For Your Agency

This module has got some interesting lessons, but also ones that you've probably seen a million times before.

I'm not going to bother you with topics like purchasing a domain or choosing your agency name, but I will focus on interesting details I picked up while watching the videos.

  • Lesson 1: Choosing your agency name and purchasing a domain.
  • Lesson 2: Creating an email address for your agency.
  • Lesson 3: Understanding basic agency pricing structure.
  • Lesson 4: Deciding on the businesses you want to work with (our recommendations).
  • Lesson 5: Clarifying your sales distinction.
  • Lesson 6: Clarifying your goals within your business and self.
  • Illuminations: getting clear with your foundation.

Firstly, what struck me was the lesson on deciding the business niches that you want to be working with.

How many times have you heard that 'the riches are in the niches'? Loads of times, right?

I was quite surprised when Ruan advised beginners not to choose a niche for two simple reasons:

  1. You're starting out and you don't want to turn an opportunity down, just because it does not belong to the niche you were thinking of specializing in.
  2. You need to have a knowledge of as many niches as you can, so you can see where the money is in your local area, and where you will be able to find leads quite easily.

On top of that, Ruan tells the story of how, when he got started, he dedicated most of his time to the restaurant niche, only to realize that he hated working in that business area.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

Immediately after, Ruan talks about the niches Develomark likes working with, and here I was even more surprized, because he listed all the niches which usually gurus discourage you from even trying to reach:

  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Lawyers
  • Roofing Contractors
  • Plastic Surgeons

His argument is that if you go local, you won't have that much competition, although I'm not sure that people starting a marketing agency would ensure a contract with any of the above categories.

I know because I know how to make $50k a month via local lead generation.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

The second thing that caught my attention is the concept of sale distinction, and profit from your sale distinction:

The first idea Ruan talks about is exclusivity, meaning that you are only going to create urgency in the client who knows that you will not be working for the competition.

Secondly, you are going to be offering an all-inclusive packet, controlling the client's experience as much as possible, and reducing everything to one bundled bill.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

Clients should not be using one agency for Ads, one for Social Media, or one for SEO. You should be providing the whole experience.

Thirdly, you want to offer an in-office product, with different people working for you in your office, without outsourcing stuff to people you don't know.

Clients will be more trusting if they know that you have an in-house expert for all the different facets of the experience you are selling to them.

Of course, at the beginning it's going to be you doing all the work, but Ruan suggests to start scaling with employees and a physical office as soon as possible.

Module 3: Breaking Down The Service Offering

This is possibly my favourite module out of the first six available, because you finally start learning practical lessons on how to build your agency.

In here, Ruan breaks down all the various parts of the package that your agency will be offering and there are some interesting things he says.

  • Lesson 1: Providing a marketing system, not a service.
  • Lesson 2: A look into the machine.
  • Lesson 3: Websites: the foundation of the marketing system.
  • Lesson 4: SEO: including search optimization in your website build.
  • Lesson 5: Content marketing: writing the content for the website.
  • Lesson 6: Blogging: creating a consistent blogging schedule for the client.
  • Lesson 7: Social media: creating local brand awareness.
  • Lesson 8: PPC: getting immediate results for the client.
  • Lesson 9: Reporting: the foundations of building a report for clients to see.
  • 12/27/19: Agency pricing, freelancer to agency Q&A.

One thing I found quite ingenious is that, once you have taken over your client's website, you are basically going to rebuild it, using the various SEO techniques that Ruan will teach you.

What he suggests doing, to get the client pumped even before you build the website proper, is to create a site-map containing all the pages that the future website is going to have.

Once you've done that, you will attach different keywords to the different pages, depending on what words you want to rank for.

Not only will this help you immensly in creating a complete website, but the client will see you in action from the get go, and involving the client is a good way of creating rapport.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

Another video that surprized me quite a bit in this module is the PPC one.

After all, haven't we just read the statistic about 70% to 80% skipping the advertized sites at the top of the Google page?

Why should we be using PPC when starting off?

Ruan gives two reasons why you should indeed use Google advertizing:

  1. You want your site to rank on the first page as soon as you launch it, while the organic SEO works its awesome but slow magic.
  2. You really want to get your client those first leads asap, and the quickest way to do that initially is via PPC.

Ruan makes this seem pretty easy, but my experience with Google Ads has not been always so amazing, and believe me, I've used the service a lot.

Module 4: Account Management

As you have realized so far, there is little practical information on these first modules, because Ruan wants you to have the whole process crystal clear before you begin doing stuff.

That doesn't mean that it's all boring fluff, though:

There are three concepts that a lot of digital marketing courses don't talk about and take for granted, that Ruan summarizes pretty well:

  1. Setting the expecatations.
  2. The kickoff meeting.
  3. The actual onboarding as a crucial experience.
  • Lesson 1: The Basics Of Successful Account Management.
  • Lesson 2: Setting The Expectations For The Campaign.
  • Lesson 3: Communication During The Campaign.
  • Lesson 4: Using The On Boarding Survey To Collect Information.
  • Lesson 5: What You Must Get At The Kickoff Meeting.
  • Lesson 6: Our client first impression strategy, kicking off the relationship in a positive note.
  • Lesson 7: Illuminations: Getting a new client is more expensive than keeping an existing client.

When pitching your services to a potential client, you want to work towards his expectations: 

After all, a satisfied client is a client you're going to keep for a longer time, and that in my books is a good thing!

Ruan begins with what is possibly the most commonly asked question in these situations:

How long is it going to take for the website to go up?

Ruan suggests to give a timeframe of 45 to 90 days depending on how quickly the client will give their logos, access to the old site, etc to the agency.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

So what exactly happens in those 45 days or 6 weeks when the site is being worked on?

  • Week 1: you provide the site map discussed in the previous module.
  • Week 2: start designing the basic assets of the site as per site map.
  • Week 3: you add content to every page after it is approved by client.
  • Week 4: you revise and edit your content based on feedback.
  • Week 5: you create a list of blog post to roll out weekly.
  • Week 6: you fire up the website.

You're basically guaranteeing the client 6 emails and 6 follow-ups, and a website up and running with the website being the number 1 priority.

It will take more than 45 days if the client is late with his feedback or is late in providing you with other basic items, like the logo, for example.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

During the kickoff meeting proper, there are a few things that Ruan thinks are crucial:

  • Get a high res version of their logo in .png
  • Access to client's Google Tools as admin (Google Analytics etc.)
  •  Access to client's DNS, host and domain name provider.
  • Access to Social Media profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook..)
ruan marinho underground secrets course

During the on-boarding call, you really should create a survey that the client should take, in order to really have detailed data on the customer.

That means that you don't have to contact the client for everything that comes up during the 6 weeks of web creation.

Some of the questions asked in the survey include:

  • Please enter your website URL.
  • Tell us a little bit about your company (5 - 6 sentences minimum).
  • Please list all of your services below (in the order of which are most important to you).
  • What is your average sale price?

Once the client has handed you the survey that he will have compiled online, the website creators will have most of the basic questions already answered.

The rest will come with the site map, and a minimal contact with the client, who you don't want to overburden.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

Module 5: Sales Basics

This is possibly the most basic of the modules out of the first 6 that I'm reviewing.

There isn't much that caught my attention and most things you will have heard already.

  • Lesson 1: The Sales Basics you need to master before continuing.
  • Lesson 2: Dressing for Success.
  • Lesson 3: Writing Proposal Agreements .
  • Lesson 4: You're looking for a yes or a no, not a "maybe, I will think about it". Let's get it clear!.
  • Lesson 5: Selling Out Of Your Pockets .
  • Lesson 6: Due Process in the Sales Cycle .
  • Lesson 7: Illuminations: you have control of whether or not people say "yes" or "no". Start with the basics.

The only lesson that I found quite valuable, hoping that there will be more complex sales instructions later in the course, was the due process in the sales cycle.

Here Ruan talks about never giving pricing or quotes via mail or phone.

The client needs to be taken through the sales cycle, and has to learn to treat you as a consultant and not a salesman.

If they're asking about pricing, they see you as a salesman and you probably won't make that sale.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

By giving the price over the phone, you don't give yourself time to build the value of your offer.

The aim is to make the future client comfortable with your package offer before he even starts thinking about price.

Ruan suggests to reply, when asked of the price, to say that you are not a cookie-cutter agency, but cater your services to your client and the price may vary.

The important thing is making them look at you as a consultant, in the end, and not as one of the many salesmen who contact the client everyday.

Module 6: The Marketing System Sales Process

Module 5 talked about following the sales process without skipping a passage for a successful client acquisition, and module 6 tells you exactly what the process is.

What really got me interested, though, was seeing actual calls between Ruan and future clients on real sales calls:

Getting an insider view of such a crucial stage of the negotiation is worth more than a million tips: that's where the meat's at.

  • Lesson 1: The sales process for your marketing system.
  • Lesson 2: The first touch getting the discovery meeting.
  • Lesson 3: The Discovery Meeting.
  • Lesson 4: Sending the follow up email after the discovery meeting.
  • Lesson 5: Preparing for the sales presentation Google Slides Template.
  • Lesson 6: Sales presentation tips and tricks.
  • Lesson 7: Creating a sense of urgency with your sales presentation.
  • Lesson 8: Client Sales Call 1 [Real Example].
  • Lesson 9: Walking Through The Sales Presentation Meeting.
  • Lesson 10: Client Sales Call 2 [Real Example].
  • Lesson 11: Client Objection Turned Into Agreeable Service Plan [Real Example].
  • Illuminations: focus on relationships if you want a successful business machine.

The most interesting call was lesson 11, where Ruan managed to turn around a situation that was totally against him into a sale and a 12 month service plan.

As far as presentation of the services that Ruan has to offer, and his behaviour during the call, I have nothing bad to say:

The guy knows what he's doing, and he is really good at explaining what his agency is going to bring to the table and how he is going to benefit his client, with slides, numbers, statistics.

In this Ruan is a machine, and if you have him as a mentor, I think it is safe to say that you can learn his skills.

ruan marinho underground secrets course

In this particular case, the problems arose when Ruan moved on to the financial expenses the client was supposed to pay.

It was pretty impressive to see Ruan completely calm in front of a guy who had let him speak for an hour, only to tell him that he could not afford to pay for his services.

Being a live recording, I was floored when Ruan found a solution to the problem, knocking out the monthly price of his service, eliminating the $1k down payment for the construction of the site, in exchange for  12 month collaboration contract.

All this happened in the space of 2 to 3 minutes, and it really shows how, if you really solve your client's problems until he has none, you're going to get that sale.

The sales calls found in this module, and the sales presentation meeting with all of Ruan's team, are really worth much more than the usual one on one videos discussing theories.

It's pretty exciting to see how one handles objections, problems and hiccups during a sales process, and Ruan really seems to have everything under control at all times.

If there is one part in these first six modules that I would consider absolutely GOLD, then it's these 'live' sales videos.

The Verdict: The Good And The Bad

Before I go on and look at the pros and cons of Ruan's course, I want to reply to those early questions I'd set down, and that anyone reading a review wants to know immediately.

  • Is this course better than other Digital Marketing Courses out there? 
  • Does the course deliver what it promises?
  • Is Ruan Marinho a scam?
  • Most importantly, how much does the course cost? And is it worth the money?

Given that I am only judging the first six modules, since they are the only ones available when you just sign up for Ruan's course, it's hard to say if this agency building course is better than others.

I'd have to say that Ruan uses his agency as an example of what you want to build, so in a way, we know that he's been through it all personally, and now he has 50+ clients and 9 people working for him.

So yes, I would say the course looks promising, and I will be adding future module reviews as they keep unlocking.

Does it deliver? It really does seem to go in-depth with what is being taught, and it is clear that Ruan has got a clear route in mind he wants to take you on, which includes knowing the fundamentals before you learn the particulars.

Until I see what the locked modules have to deliver, i will reserve judgement. But keep in mind that from week one you get his 2018 SEO course as a bonus, and that is a BOMB, my friends.

Ruan Marinho is clearly not a scam: he has a company that is very easy to look up in any online or offline directory and the amount of employees and clients he has make me thing that he is doing really well.

If he is teaching you all that he has learned in the process of getting to where he is now, well, you'll know he ain't a scam.

There's no lambos, no money shooting guns, but just a solid online marketing agency getting the work done day in day out.

When it comes to the price, the course has a monthly subscription fee of $196: it may seem steep for some, but if you plan on doing this seriously and having your first client within three months of starting, it's a worthwhile investment.

All future updates are going to be free to subscribers and you'll get to participate to Q&As and the Facebook group, which, I have to say, is pretty active!

All in all, I think it's totally affordable and it gives you the chance to cancel your subscription at a click's notice, giving you the opportunity to sample the first six modules. Not bad at all.


  • Ruan knows what he's talking about, and his teaching really sticks in your head for good. 
  • Ruan has Develomark to show for: he doesn't only sell courses. His YouTube channel shows that he knows what he's talking about to a great degree.
  • The monthly payments are good for people who don't want to spend another $1500 dollars for another course.
  • You are really taken by the hand through the ABC of the trade, AND you get an awesome SEO course as a bonus freebie.


  • The first six lessons are good, but they seem to be just vague enough to stay for the future, more practical teachings.
  • I don't really get Ruan's position regarding CCP: on the one hand he says people ignore them and organic is where it's at, on the other he suggests to use them because they are super efficient.
  • If you don't want to scale your agency and hire people to work with you to provide that ultimate package, this ain't the course for you.
  • By far not the best online business model in 2020
ruan marinho underground secrets course

If you want to start and expand your online marketing business, Ruan's course might be the right one for you.

However these days, I don't really recommend going down the path of building a marketing agency like Ruan is teaching.

Lead Generation, where you rank your own website, is a far superior model to monetize your skills.

Let me explain, keep reading...

Why I Quit Doing SEO... Lead Generation Proved to be a Much Better Biz Model, Here's Why...

Look at it this way:

You can do tons of SEO and rank customers' pages on page 1 of Google, but the question is how long will the customer pay you  to stay on page 1 month after month? 

Ruan talks of the challenge of retaining customers after his first year of contract when he says that it's much more expensive to board new customers than trying to retain existing customers, but old clients are hard to keep interested too. 

The pattern is almost always same: they think you have fixed their website and you really don't have to do much SEO work on it anymore.

If you're learning Ruan's course to then sell your newly learned skill, that's the biggest issue with a SEO client.

Client Retention.

You are working hard for months to rate the website of another person and once they get their results they feel they no longer have to pay you

They feel like you've done your job, the website is at its best and they don't need you any more.

Once again you're going to seek out a new customer.

Pretty depressing, huh?

Having to chase customers offering one‘s skills, only to get told you are no longer needed when you've done only half of your job, getting the website to rank.

I hate to chase SEO customers for my income ...

This is why I don't take SEO customers any more today. 

I do lead generation instead, which means I rank my own websites & make money on the leads.

For example, this is a site that I own.

I own the site, I build it, I rank it and whatever free organic traffic (leads) that flows through that site, I send to a business owner who's looking for more work.

In turn, I make bucks for every lead I send.

Client is happy, I am happy.

And even better: a client can't fire me.

With SEO you're ranking other people's websites, but with Lead Generation you're ranking your own websites!

I much rather rank my own sites and sell the lead, and if the client stops paying me, I can send the leads to their competitor and keep making money.

I'm in 100% control of my website & where I send the leads.

Once I have a lead generation client, they cannot leave me.

This is what that whole process looks like:

So it's pretty much passive income:

I don’t have to worry about the performance of my ads or anything.

Once my site ranks it generally stays in the ranks with very little to no maintenance.

The problem with SEO is that you are constantly looking at your at your stats and how your page is doing, dreading the moment your employer is going to stop needing you.

Lead Generation is much more chilled and stress free, and once the money starts rolling in, it won't stop.

Trust me, I make more than $ 50k a month with it.

You create the sites, build them and rank them, and you own the assets: the client will be happy to pay you for leads because he will be making money too!


If you know how to generate leads with free traffic, you can virtually go into any local niche and create amazing level results for you and your clients.

That’s how 90% of my multiple 6 figure income is generated. And I should add that it's passive income, see free traffic never stops.

In 2020, even during Covid-19, I continue to build more lead gen sites and I write at least  a couple of blog posts for this site a day, because I’ve come to realize that these are the high-income producing activities, because it directly increases my free traffic every month.

If you want to know how I went from a corporate job to six figures a year through lead gen, click the button below!

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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  1. What if your clients have website?
    Nowadays almost every business has one. Using your method can be hard to find clients, or am I wrong?

    1. Good question, Andreia!
      In that case you can ‘rent’ your high ranking website to your local business.
      The lead gen created site will be ranking above your clients.
      So what you can do is customize your site with your clients info and pics until he remains your client.
      If things were to change, you keep the high ranking website.

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